The members of the Congressional Black Caucus huddled together around a computer screen in the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon to watch the reading of the verdict in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Each time Judge Peter Cahill uttered the word "guilty," there were a few murmurs among the lawmakers, but mostly their reaction was muted, suggesting relief.
That seemed to be the common feeling as individual members contributed to a caucus-wide press conference soon after. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), for example, said that "for a moment, we can exhale," noting that the sentencing is still to come.
Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), meanwhile, indicated that they see the verdict as a first step in an ongoing process to eliminate incidents like George Floyd's death. "We are hopeful today will be the catalyst to turn the pain, the agony, the justice delayed into action," Beatty said. Bush described it as a "popping of the lock," adding that "this is accountability, but it is not yet justice. Justice for us is saving lives." Tim O'Donnell